Dental procedures can be intimidating for most children. Performing dental procedures on anxious children is a tedious task for Pediatric dentists as children panic between the treatments. One of the main goals of a pediatric dentist is to provide a safe and stress-free environment to the little patients where they can feel relaxed while undergoing the procedures. The most common way to achieve this is using a mild form of gaseous sedation, nitrous oxide (laughing gas). It helps in relieving anxiety and discomfort in children during dental procedures.
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Nitrous oxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is safe and gentle for dental procedures in children. It is made use during the following scenerios:
- Fear and anxiety during dental visits and procedures
- Children with short attention spans.
- Patients who are anxious of local anesthesia
- During treatments with a prolonged dental procedure
- Children with special health care needs
- To avoid interference of gag reflex with routine procedures
Nitrous oxide sedation helps children to relax and stay calm during dental procedures. Hence, they gain stress-free dental procedure experience, and encouragement for future dental visits. Small doses of nitrous oxide have been used in pediatric dentistry for many years and are considered safe and completely harmless.
What are the benefits of Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is given during several dental procedures ranging from dental cleaning to filling cavities, root canal treatments, crowns and extractions.
Nitrous oxide when compared with other types of sedation, helps children relax without putting them to sleep and leaves them awake and responsive during the dental procedure. It helps children stay calm while on the dental chair and overcome their anxiety about dental procedures. It is also used in patients or kids with special needs.
Quick Withdrawal Effect
One of the main characteristics of nitrous oxide is that it acts and releases its effect quickly. As it dissipates rapidly, the patient easily returns to a normal state of awareness almost immediately.
No lasting side effects
Nitrous oxide has no lingering side effects and is safe for patients of all ages, including kids. When inhaled, kids may feel slightly lightheaded or have heavy limbs. It disappears at the end of the procedure as it is normal to have such a reaction upon using nitrous oxide. The overall relaxed feeling of the kids while being sedated allows the dentist to complete the dental procedure.
How does nitrous oxide work?
Nitrous oxide is provided to pediatric patients through a small fitted mask that covers the child’s nose. It carries oxygen mixed with nitrous which gets absorbed by the lungs as the patient starts breathing. It takes about five minutes for the sedation to work. The mask is fitted throughout the procedure, and the staff monitors the patient’s sedation level to ensure their cooperation through verbal communication. Upon completion of the treatment, the sedation is turned off and pure oxygen is given to the patient for a short period. After the mask is removed, the patient can breathe as normal.